Catalogue description Hearts of Oak Friendly Society Limited

This record is held by City of Westminster Archives Centre

Details of 2322
Reference: 2322
Title: Hearts of Oak Friendly Society Limited

Annual reports, Delegate Board minutes, Executive Committee minutes, Board of Directors' minutes, journal, advertising material, legal papers, property records, auxiliary organisations, publications concerning the society's history, programmes and souvenirs, photographs, newspaper cuttings and artifacts



Date: 1842-2000

Annual reports


Delegate minutes of annual meetings


Executive Committee minutes


Board of Directors' minutes


Committee and Sub-Committee notices and reports-


General Committee, Committee of Management and Sub-Committee agendas and notices to members


Jubilee Celebrations Sub-Committee


Office Organisation Committee


Revising Committee


Financial reports




Advertising and Sponsorship-


Advertising material


Sponsorship of Palling in-shore lifeboat and Valence School for the disabled


Sponsorship of sporting events


Delegate, Members and staff records-


Delegate and Society Officer records


Membership records


Staff photographs


Legal papers-


Legal case papers


Legal agreements concerning Society's Officers


Property records-


Bird-in-Hand Tavern, Long Acre, London


Greek Street, London


Euston Road property


Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex


Leicester Office


Other regional offices and property


Callis Court Convalescent Home, Broadstairs, Kent and other covalescent homes


Auxiliary organisations-


Juvenile Benefit Society (later Junior Section)


Acorn Club


Humane Preserverance Sick and Benefit Society


Sincere Sick and Benefit Society (formerly Sincerity Society)


Hearts of Oak Benefit Collecting Society and London, Aberdeen and Northern Collecting Society


History of the Society-


Publications and photographs


Newspaper articles




Souvenir programmes, orders of service and dinner menus


Badges, medals and regalia


Other friendly societies and related organisations

Held by: City of Westminster Archives Centre, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Hearts of Oak Benefit Society, 1842-1992

Hearts of Oak Friendly Society Ltd, 1992-

Physical description: 451 files
Immediate source of acquisition:

Records were deposited on indefinite loan by Richard Gough, Group Chief Executive, Hearts of Oak Insurance Group, 9 Princess Road West, Leicester, in December 2002.

Administrative / biographical background:

It was on 20th June 1842 that twelve members of a Provident Society met at the Bird-in-Hand Tavern, 17 Long Acre, with the intention of establishing their own Society. This society was to be named the Hearts of Oak Benefit Society, after the navy whose wooden ships protected Britain from invasion. The intention of the Society was to protect its members against distress through sickness. A Committee of Management was established under the founder and Secretary Mr John Hadley. The landlord of the Bird-in-Hand Mr Richard Mills was elected first Treasurer of the Society.


By the 1850's following the passing of the Friendly Societies Act the Society's membership and range of activities expanded rapidly. In 1863 new larger premises were acquired in Greek Street, Soho, where the Society operated until 1875 when it moved to Charlotte Street. By 1877 the number of members had grown too large to make an Annual General Meeting practicable and a Board of Delegates was therefore established. To celebrate the Society's fiftieth anniversary members purchased a lifeboat bearing the name Hearts of Oak which was launched at Lowestoft in 1893. By 1906 when King Edward VII opened the new Euston Road offices the Society had around half a million members. The offices were further expanded into Grafton Place in 1916. From 1910 the Society was ready to expand its sickness, maternity and death benefit schemes and to seek new areas of activity. A Juvenile Branch was registered for boys and young men between the ages of one and nineteen. Following the 1911 Health Insurance Act, the Society was among the first of the Friendly Societies to govern State Insurance Business and to admit women members.


In 1938 the Society opened a new Convalescent Home at Broadstairs, Kent. During World War Two the Society's headquarters were evacuated to Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex. In 1942 as part of the Society's Centenary celebrations and to assist the war effort the Society presented twelve fully equipped ambulances to Civil Defence Authorities around the country. These vehicles were inspectd by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace on 19 May 1942. The Society's Euston Road offices were rebuilt between 1968 and 1970, with the new block being opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on 16 April 1970. In 1997 the Society's registered office moved to Leicester where the computer base had operated since 1973.


Following the publication of the Beveridge Report on Social Security in 1948 the Society severed its connections with National Insurance and its members had to join the State Insurance Scheme. From that date the Society has concentrated solely on voluntary insurance. In 1960 the Society formed an Associated Collecting Society to market industrial branch business. Subsequently in 1973 this Society merged with the Aberdeen and Northern Collecting Society to form the London, Aberdeen and Northern Mutual Assurance Society. (LANMAS). Under the Friendly Societies Act of 1992 the Society became one of the first to incorporate and changed its name to the Hearts of Oak Friendly Society Limited. However, the Society remains a mutual organisation with a system of self-government and members electing Delegates to serve for a period of five years to represent them at the Annual General Meeting. At every such meeting the Delegates elect the President and Vice President of the Society.

Link to NRA Record:

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